Ochocinco Gets His Kicks In
CHad Ochocinco kicks a PAT (AP Photo)
CHad Ochocinco kicks a PAT (AP Photo)
JungleInsider.com
Posted Aug 24, 2009


FOXBOROUGH, Mass -- When the Bengals faced Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium this past Thursday night, the AFC North visitors were understandably labeled the underdogs. What the oddsmakers didn't realize was that Cincinnati had the ultimate secret weapon -- Ochocinco the kicker.

He catches passes, boxes and tweets. Now Chad Ochocinco can add another thing to his vast repertoire -- kicker.

The charismatic ninth-year wide receiver kicked the extra point in the Bengals' 7-6 win over New England, which ended up being the winning point.

Said Ochocinco of his extra point: "'Esteban' Ochocinco is back. The most interesting footballer in the world. Everyone has to remember, I've always said that soccer is my No. 1 sport. I think Ronaldinho would be proud of me right now."

Special teams coach Darrin Simmons found out 20 minutes after kickoff that Shayne Graham would be unable to go due to a tender groin. Normally the punter becomes the emergency kicker, but since Kevin Huber is a left-footed kicker, there was no one available as a holder. Enter Ochocinco.

"A year ago we were going through the same thing with Shayne, Chad came up and said let me do it. We let him kick field goals in practice but not kickoffs and he did great," Simmons said. "I knew he could kick some but not as good as he did. It's just kind've neat the way it happened the way it did. It's kind've neat. It adds to the book I'll have on my career when it's all over.

"I'm glad he was able to go out and help us. I'm just glad we won it. It was a preseason game albeit but you never know if something like that is going to comes up in a regular season game and you have someone you can go to."

Simmons said from the time the ball is snapped until it is kicked, the time they like to get is 1.28 seconds. Ochocinco was not that far off at 1.33.

"When he kicked it I knew it was going to be a good hit," said Huber of the extra point. "Once I saw his PAT, it didn't surprise me that he kicked off. He's strong and athletic enough."

Simmons and other kickers were even more impressed with his kickoff, which he got to the Patriots' 9. Jets kicker Jay Feely on ESPN2's "First Take" rated it an 85 on a scale of 1-85.

For Graham, who was designated as the franchise player during the offseason, this marks the third straight year that he has been hampered by an injury. He missed part of the 2007 preseason with a hip injury and missed two games last year with a groin injury.

"I'm just going to do everything I can to make sure that I'm healthy when the time comes," Graham said. "I'm just going to do what I do and when it feels good I'll go. I've had injuries like that in the preseason and I've had some of my best years after that. I'm not worried about it, I'll come back strong and rehab it."

Cincinnati Bengals QB J.T. O'Sullivan vs New England Patriots Aug. 20, 2009 (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

--When talking about the Bengals' first-team offense midway through training camp, there has been a mixture of good and bad.

The encouraging note through two preseason games is that whoever has been at the control of the offense has moved the ball. The discouraging thing -- it's been all yards and no points.

In nine series, the unit has gained 290 yards and is averaging 6.4 yards per play. But three of the drives ended in turnovers, one stalled by penalty, another resulted in a missed field goal and one ended when the Bengals could not convert on fourth down (if Shayne Graham was healthy, they would've attempted a field goal).

While mistakes are a concern, coach Marvin Lewis is happier with the fact that they're moving the ball.

"We are moving the ball and that's the best positive. We can control the other things," Lewis said. "We can eliminate penalties and giving the ball to the other club just because our guys are better than that. We've made more explosive plays in these first two games than we had entire last season."

Said running back Cedric Benson of the mistakes: "We just have to continue sticking with the game plan and continue to execute. Correct where we made a mistake and move on. It's good for it to happen now and have an idea of who the refs are calling now."

For those still having nightmares of Ryan Fitzpatrick's running of the offense, another positive has been the play of J.T. O'Sullivan. In two games, the seventh-year player has completed 19 of 24 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns (both to Chris Henry) with a rating of 136.3.

"Anytime you get reps or snaps it's an opportunity that I don't take for granted," O'Sullivan said. "These guys are calling great plays, the line is giving me an opportunity to get the ball out of my hands and the guys are making plays. The receivers are talented and exciting. They're making plays every week. It's a deep pool and a huge asset."

Carson Palmer missed the Bengals' 7-6 win over New England with a sprained left ankle, and his status for Thursday's game against St. Louis remains doubtful. While he said he would like to play, his focus remains on being healthy for the Sept. 13 opener against Denver.

Another thing Lewis has been happy about is the play of the remade offensive line, which features three new starters. They have given the quarterbacks time in pass protection and opened lanes for the backs.

CAMP CALENDAR: The Bengals broke camp in Georgetown on Aug. 18.

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